(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Unless House Democrats return to the statehouse today, it is day 30 of the caucus’s walkout.
That would tie a record for a state legislature walkout set by Democrats in Texas in 2003. Despite the time and distance away from each other, the two parties appear no closer to reaching a truce.
The Indiana Republican Party debuted a website Monday called indemsgps.org. It features a map showing where Democrats have been and their activities since the walkout began February 22.
Meanwhile, the Democrat Legislative Campaign Committee began an advertising blitz criticizing Governor Mitch Daniels and Republicans for their agenda targeting collective bargaining and education reform.
On Monday, the GOP-controlled Indiana Senate began working on budget bills in committees. House committees will also meet this week, but will not be able to vote on bills.
“We have finally made the decision that if they don’t want to show up we are just going to work around the obstacles,” State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) told Eagle 99.3 Monday. “We have some procedures in place that will allow us to get to work on the things we were sent up there to do. If they don’t want to participate in the process that’s their business.”
Still, Democrats will be needed to pass a budget or any other legislation.
McMillin said his party leadership has made changes to some bills in attempts to appease Democrats.
“The leadership did try to make some concessions in terms of what the Democrats were asking them to do to come back, and after a month of trying to do it, it became painfully clear that we were shooting a moving target. Every time we would make some kind of concession there would be another demand the next day,” said McMillin.
State Representative Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) said his caucus is proud to be standing up for what they believe in.
“When you’re being censured for political reasons and for reasons you believe very deeply in, I would guess we have a number of members that would want to frame that censure,” said Pelath.
A state budget must be passed by April 29 in order to avoid a special legislative session. Failure to pass a budget by June 30 would result in a state government shutdown.